Black Bean Soup with Roasted Poblano

This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers. They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.

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2 fresh poblano chiles
raw shelled green pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 large dried pasilla or ancho chile (stemmed, seeds removed)
2 tablespoon bacon fat (or olive oil if you prefer)
1 large onion (peeled and roughly chopped)
4 clove garlic (peeled and roughly chopped)
1 (14½-oz.) can diced tomatoes (with juices)
4 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you prefer)
kosher salt (to taste)
2 (14½-oz.) cans black beans (drained)
½ cup roughly grated or crumbled queso fresco
cilantro sprigs (to taste)
Lime wedges (to taste, for serving)

Roast the peppers: Char poblano chiles by laying them, one at a time, directly over a gas flame, turning occasionally with tongs until blackened on all sides. Place them in a medium bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, set aside until cool; rub off the blackened skin, remove stems and seeds, then finely chop.

Meanwhile, toast pepitas in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate. Toast dried pasilla chile in same skillet until slightly darkened and pliable, about 1 minute per side; transfer to plate to cool, then roughly chop.

Heat bacon fat in a Dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a blender, add tomatoes and chopped pasilla chile, and blend until smooth.

Return tomato mixture to Dutch oven and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until quite thick and pastey, 6–8 minutes. Stir in broth; season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until soup is slightly thickened, 10–15 minutes. Stir in black beans and poblano chiles. Cook, stirring occasionally, until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Serve soup topped with queso fresco, cilantro sprigs and pumpkin seeds, with lime wedges alongside.


From by Greg Henry